Saturday, May 04, 2013

Starless Night


I just heard a horse bray in the distance.
I'm awake now, and suddenly aware
of the music of the Southland:
dogs barking to a back up band 
of loudly chirping crickets 
God knows, I love this place.
I can feel a cold and soothing (albeit biting)
breeze across my hands as I type.
These days, even the friendliest wind
in this world seems to have a bite.
There are no stars out tonight.
It's cloudy. I am surrounded by pine trees.

I can’t remember a single cloudy night
from my childhood; back then, 
every sky was clear; every night was starry.
How bright were those nights,
and I was full of life.

I remember lying, with my friends,
on our backs, on hay bales,
and staring for hours at a billion beams
of steady stunning starlight
(each beam overflowing with brightness).
My friends laughed and talked in lightness
all around me with voices, like the stars,
unclouded, and clear, and bright.
I remember the girl I liked,
lying near me, night after long night,
under a full moon of opportunity 
but I recall that I lacked the requisite
courage to say very much to her.
Back then, I cursed my cowardice,
but now, upon reflection, I understand,
there was something noble in my reticence;
in some ways, the boy was the better man.

That seems a long time ago:
a different life, really — I hardly feel
the same person. I'm not.
The years  they have changed me.
It occurred to me just now: I am
a different person — not merely in degree 
different entirely: different in species.
How that boy became this man
is harder to see, by far,
than any distant star.

Looking back, I have not a doubt,
I could have never planned all this out 
not in my worst nightmares;
not in my wildest dreams. I could never
have planned the miraculous maze of my life.
I have, at times, looked back, nearly despairing,
and wished for a way to undo,
not just a thing or two,
but every single everything.

I am looking upward now, looking for a star,
but the sky is blurry with clouds,
and the stars seem to be, from me, hiding.
I am looking still, looking harder;
still, no stars, and still, I am looking upward 
looking, upon a less starry sky,
than those of my childhood,
but with greater resolution 
and still I am looking at the night sky
and hoping for a single beam,
like a watchman, I am stalking the dark,
for one lone star.

I found one. It's a yellow, sickly, sad
star in the Northeastern sky. One star, dim,
but there it is, and I found it.
(If you are reading this, remember,
God works everything together
for good for those who love Him).
That one star is hope,
and pale as it is, I celebrate it.
It is a sign, long awaited, and sorely anticipated:
starlight has not forever faded,
and the Creator has not ceased His devotion
to me, or to planetary motion;
there is, after all, still one star.

I have to trust the rest of the night sky
to God, and cling with all my heart
to my one yellow star.
And I shall.
I have suffered a staggering steady diet
of skies starless and benighted 
but they were my school, and in the end,
from them, I learned to be content.
In that, I surpass the impatient
boy I left behind beneath the shining firmament.
In that, at least, I am a better man than him.
I have learned  when light and hope are dim 
one star is enough.
Now, a single star can make me sing;
I would not change a thing.

I wonder what happened to the girl I liked;
sometimes, I worry for her;
she worries for me, I'm sure.
I wish I could tell her I'm doing alright,
and thank her for our starry nights.
If I could, I would tell her 
about my one yellow star,
and I would tell her the man
is glad to have once been that boy.
If I could, I would take her hand
and tell her, even after all the hard
and starless years, the boy
is glad now to be this man.
I would tell her that I have been
by heaven blessed with sweet content;
If I could, I would tell her it only
takes one star to turn a dark night starry.
I would tell her not to worry:
a single star can make me sing;
I would not change a thing.


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